We are fortunate, in our area, to have several banded Trumpeter Swans that appear to now live here most of the year. This is a species of the far north, and does not normally live or migrate in the mid-Atlantic United States.
I was lucky to see this beautiful creature come in for a landing at Schoolhouse Pond, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, this week. It had large yellow tags on the leading edge of each of its huge wings. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to see the number on the tag, as it quickly folded its wings and coasted silently down the lake ... toward me and my camera!
Two birds have been seen at Schoolhouse and a place called Oxbow Lake in Laurel, Maryland, over the last roughly 18 months. One is #960, the other #962. On our local bird discussion list, MDOsprey, someone posted a note saying the two are siblings, and were hatched in Ontario, Canada.
More information on reporting banded birds can be found on the Website of the U.S. Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, which has a Bird Banding lab and luckily is also located nearby! You can report swan sightings here.
The only downer here is that I can't count this guy on my Maryland bird list, because it's an introduced species! Although there is some debate about that.... Hmmm...
SUNDAY UPDATE: Phil Davis, one of Maryland's great birders, and secretary of the Maryland-DC records committee, informs us that this is Swan #962.